I had been looking forward to the Run The Town #runoak race for a number of reasons. It’s put on by the same group that did the Livermore event which was a total blast. Since I work in Oakland, its something of a hometown feel too.
I hadn’t been training that hard prior to this race and the week prior was going to be in another city for business. Luckily, it would at 9,000 feet elevation in the Colorado mountains. The elevation here is fierce and training runs are for a fraction of the distance and speed for a newbie like me but everyone I spoke to said that running for a week this high up will make you feel like Superman when you go back to running at sea level. Running a 10k race through the Beaver Creek mountains proved just that. The more miles I logged here, the better the payoff for this Oakland race.
I was familiar with the course since it ran through various parts of the city that I know well. Jen and the kids came to cheer me on too which I absolutely love. It’s a great feeling running toward loves one or just knowing that someone is waiting for you at the finish line.
There were pace runners and this time I started with the 1:40 group. Out of the gates, I felt strong and my average pace times were well under my goal. Again, I went out HOT clocking 6:41 for the first mile. Thats closer to my 10k race pace. I knew I needed to slow that down to sustain this race. The course is mostly flat so it was more about finding the right pace and sticking to it. There was just one big hill around the 8-mile mark and the final mile was a gradual incline but there were so many moments to open up your stride and gain ground.
On the final approach, I knew I was close to beating my 1:40 record. For the final mile though, my RunKeeper app voiced my times but the crowds were distracting and I didn’t hear it well so I kicked things up a notch as best I could. There were a couple runners that FLEW past me but I didn’t let it bother me. I tried to catch the runners in front but they were too far ahead. I was more focused on the runners behind me and used that as motivation to propel me forward.
On the final turn, I saw the clock showing 1:36:xx! Holy shit I shaved 4 minutes off my best time?!?! As soon as I crossed the finish line I could hear my kids shouting “Daddy!” and saw Jen shooting pictures and waiving. I picked up my medal and they met me out of the finish line gates where I stole lots of hugs and kisses from them.
THAT is the best way to finish a race. Getting the PR too was the cherry on top.
Official Time: 1:36:15 (7:21 pace)
Overall: 74 / 1372
Age Group: 30 out of 224
Males: 66 out of 604
5k Rate: 20:44 (6:41 pace)
10k Rate: 43:29 (7:00 pace)
The after-race party was great too. Just as before at Livermore, there were plenty of things going on. Brita was a major sponsor and gave away water bottles with a built-in filter that I still use to this day. Free mason jar glass for free beer, plenty of snacks for runners (and hungry kids), live music, mats and rollers to stretch out afterward. It was great just hanging out in Frank Ogawa park and watching all the other runnings come through.
Mountain training appeared to have helped because I don’t think I would have run that well otherwise. What is certain is that this was a really fun race by a well organized, professional company that I will definitely run again next year. They’re doing the US Half in San Francisco this November that I’ll be racing too. I’m really looking forward to running across the Golden Gate Bridge!